By Isabel Guadalupe Bennett, MScN (Edu), BScN (Admin- HONS), RN

I started my professional career as a Registered Nurse some 27 years ago. But what I really wanted to do was archaeology. I have always had a keen interest and yearning to understand the ancient intriguing world of the Mayas. But that childhood dream was not possible as I come from a single-parent household of three, me being the eldest and only girl with two younger brothers- Mr. Lion and Mr. Bernardo Bennett. Mi Abuela was the breadwinner of our home as my Mom was mentally unstable. But Mi Abuela made sure to instill in all three of us the core values of love for family, respect, hard work, integrity, service to others and a fear of God.

So for all of my professional life, from the tender age of 18, I had focused on Belize’s health care system (MOH) where I quickly became involved in the Nurses Association of Belize as the Assistant Secretary. My decision to actively participate in my professional organization, yielded a beautiful 17 years of unbroken dedicated service and another 10 additional years at the national university-UB. Those were absolutely and totally wonderful years spent in service to others. These were my two worlds for 27 years, with no regrets as it was always a fight to empower my nursing colleagues through unionism and defending nursing students tooth and nail because I believe that they are the future of the healthcare system of Belize.

But entrepreneurship and politics soon came knocking in early 2019 with a gentle but bigger and even more forceful purpose. The call was very, very clear so it was easy to say, “Yes!” to both. And here is why it was so easy to say ‘yes’ to both opportunities. They presented an even higher calling to self- sustainability (establishing the frameworks for my own businesses) and secondly, service to my country but now at a national level to serve as a PUP Senator. I prayed and acted with faith for both opportunities believing in my skills and talents, and my life of service. I saw each opportunity as the superhighway to empower myself as an entrepreneur. As a result of my decision, I find my two free-spirited children zeroing in even more to a strong business mind-set. Most definitely too, I deem the opportunities as freedom from an oppressing UB system that suffocated creativity and unionism because of political interference and administrators who had little or no integrity.

So to this end, having gotten the wonderful opportunity to serve as a PUP Senator, my eyes are truly opened to even bigger issues than those of MOH and UB that I had experienced. In that short span of one year, I was exposed to the fact that there is an urgent need for Belizeans to arrest at the national level the corruption, poor governance, and what can now be regarded as a total disregard for us as Belizean people. We have not been given the opportunities to empower ourselves worst yet provided with industries that would provide stable jobs. In just that short period of one year, my heart had truly bled profusely for the level of blatant corruption, dishonest leadership, illegal contracts, and the senseless borrowing that occurred in the name of the Belizean people. Of course, the list of wrongdoings is endless as it related to the UDP over the past 12 years. For that full year of exposure to the senate, the debates were mainly focused on yet another “money bill” that had no vision to support our people or to alleviate us out of poverty or to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship. Even if I was not a PUP supporter, just a concerned Belizean, I would have had grave issues with the UDP’s highhandedness in decision making, nepotism, poor governance of our scarce resources, and a lack of prioritization of the needs of the Belizean people.

As the voter for 2020 – you are the most important person in this beautiful country of Belize. I appeal to you, think of what Belize can be in the next 10 years if we elect leaders who are God-fearing, humble, dedicated to do the hard work that is needed to rebuild our nation, have integrity, and are committed to serving you.

Think of your children’s needs for a better education system where they can reach their highest potentials in life and better their circumstances with free education from pre-school to sixth form.

Think of your own health needs and that of your family’s healthcare needs as well where NHI would be available to all.

Think of your own urgent need to secure food and pay bills for your home.

Think even of the food security that will happen when the PUP takes drastic actions to make food security a priority over road building, think of the industries that will be created in the country which in turn will reverse the jobless mess of the past 12 years and as a result of COVID.

Think of the support that our farmers and business people need to continue to export goods and services, think of our need as a nation to truly address crime and violence in ways that will rebuild our young people by providing jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity etc.

If you truly reflect on your basic needs as a deserving citizen of Belize, you will go out on NOVEMBER 11 to vote for the dedicated PUP Standard Bearer in your constituency. He/she wishes to serve YOU with one mindset—people first, and governance of Belize with love and integrity because every Belizean can win!